The graffiti on the brick wall said L/K. It was written in blue with a drawn red pitchfork underneath and a black crown up top. The old man kept looking at the art as he stood there swaying back and forth with piss on his pants.
An alley cat crossed behind him hissing. Thought for a moment it was a bobcat. Someone said there was one loose in the city. But no. It was just a homeless cat checking garbage cans for a midnight snack. He was familiar with the process.
He zipped up his pants and made his way down Main. Bumping into parking meters and light poles that shined down on him in a color of yellow. It was midnight. He had to make last call at Danny’s. The old man wanted to spend all his money that night. Wake up the next day with a fresh start.
Danny’s was almost empty. It was a Tuesday night. The factory workers would be in at seven when he opened for the day. Now it was just him, a couple of home boys, and a hooker with molars missing. She wore a blonde wig.
Give me a shot of Rye and an Old Style, he said. The old man watched as beer was poured from the tap making it foam over the glass. The devil’s juice was placed before him. Before he raised the shot glass, Pete asked for $5. The old man gave him $6. Keep it, he said. I always tip. Don’t I Pete? The middle-aged bar keep nodded his head. I tip, or, I don’t come in. Them are the facts, the old man said. If you don’t have enough to tip, stay home, he drank his shot.
Work today old man? Pete asked. The old man said he had. Told him he got a job down at the Civic Center throwing away boxes for the boat show. Said he’d worked hard all day. Said he made $70 for his labor. Big man, Pete said. Better save some for tomorrow, he added.
The old man took a swig of beer. You should see all them boats Pete, he said. They got fishing boats, pontoons, speed boats, all kinds. One of these days I’m going to get a boat, they both laughed. Now really Pete. I can pull this off, Pete turned his back on him. Hey, he yelled. I’m talking to you, Pete motioned for him to keep it down. If I say I’m going to get a boat, then I will, he blurted out.
Keep it down old man, Pete told him. I don’t wanna toss you tonight. The old man mumbled to himself. He finished his beer and ordered another round. The bartender said no. Pete cut him off. He told him to go find a good place to sleep. Go down to the river, Pete said. Nice and cool down there. Good for you.
You tossing me out Pete? Pete nodded yes. One day I’m going to have a big pontoon boat out on that river. With women and kegs. And you my friend will not be invited, Pete pointed to the door.
Come back to fight another night old man. Come back another night, Pete followed him to the door and sent him on his way.
A pontoon, the old man said as he stumbled down the street. I’ll name it Suzy. Just ’cause I like the name.